Rwanda bans BBC broadcasts over controversial documentary

The Rwandan Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) has suspended the broadcasts of BBC Radio programmes in national Kinyarwanda language “forever” in the country with immediate effect, an official source said Friday.

Pictures of Rwandans killed donated by survivors are installed on a wall inside the Gisozi memorial in Kigali
Pictures of Rwandans killed donated by survivors are installed on a wall inside the Gisozi memorial in Kigali

The suspension comes months after the British channel broadcast a new controversial documentary entitled, “Rwanda: The untold story”.

In a communiqué issued in Kigali, the Rwandan public regulatory body said it had based its decision “on the resolutions made by the commission of inquiry that was set up by the Rwandan government to investigate allegations of genocide denial and revisionism against the BBC in the new documentary produced by BBC journalist, Jane Corbin”.

“An investigation has been closed into those allegations, and the outcome has recommended that BBC should be suspended,” added the communiqué.

The suspension of the broadcasts of the BBC programmes on FM radio and via satellite comes few weeks days after thousands of demonstrators, mainly youths and women, took to the streets of Kigali to denounce the controversial documentary.

Similarly, the Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, recently questioned the partisan attitude of the British broadcaster, which, he said wanted to “willingly discredit several authorities of the country” through the new documentary.

Speaking in the Rwandan Parliament in October 2014, President Kagame said with regard to the documentary that Rwanda and the African continent were for decades subjected to bad media coverage by several western media, with bad motives.

At least 800,000 people, mainly Tutsis and moderate Hutus, died in the genocide in 1994 triggered by the death of the then president Juvenal Habyarimana when his plane was shot down while returning from peace talks with Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) rebels.

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